|Witnesses to Cultural Genocide|
"Audiatur et altera pars"
LETTER TO THE RUMANIAN INTELLECTUALS
SIXTY-TWO HUNGARIAN INTELLECTUALS IN RUMANIA issued this open appeal to the Rumanian intelligentsia on May 25, 1978. By their own account, the original letter was sent, unsigned, to llie Verdet, the Politburo member in charge of ideological matters (since elevated - on March 29, 1979 - to the position of Prime Minister); a copy signed by the 62 individuals was sent to a notary public in Switzerland with instructions to confirm, upon inquiry by the Rumanian government, the existence of the 62 signatures. Following these measures, the letter was covertly disseminated within Rumania and several copies eventually arrived in the West. The document is a useful primary source, especially where it furnishes detailed evidence of the concerted effort to fire Rumanian nationalism and denigrate the minorities' past. Adopting a positive tone, the Hungarians call upon their Rumanian colleagues to combat such anti-minority manifestationsóin their own mutual best interest.
Our Esteerned Friends!
We turn to you in the hope of understanding! We raise our voices, commanded to be silent, to complain so that our descendants cannot say that we did not have the courage, in ultimate danger, to speak in our own defense.
We want to tell the whole truth - without partiality - in connection with the persecution being conducted against the Hungarian nationality in Rumania. We ask a hearing in the name of and for the protection of our nationality - the Hungarians in Rumania. You must listen and you must understand. If you do not do this you will become party to the destruction of an ethnic group - the Hungarians in Rumania. We believe that you do not want this, that you do not give your vote to those measures the purpose of which is to deprive us of our native language, of everything which we call our national culture and which, in accordance with the laws of nature, we should hand on to those who come after us.
History has frequently tried this land on which it has been given us to live. Alien peoples have slaughtered us, Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike, and we have fostered resentment against one another often enough. The tragedy through which we have lived for centuries should warn us to respect one another, to honor the personality and traditions of one another, to guarantee to one another an honorable life without fear so that with mutual respect we can build stairs toward a tomorrow in which hatred will finally pass from the hearts of all.
At the conclusion of World War II the Transylvanian Hungarians lulled themselves in the vain belief that an historic epoch had opened before us in which racial discrimination would be an act to be prosecuted, in which everyone could freely use his mother tongue and cultivate the customs of his ancestors. We hoped this all the more because historical experience had proved that the borders of the countries of Europe had not been established on the basis of a principle of self-determination.
The same fatal passions were effective after World War II as had been effective after the conclusion of the first. We knew that power politics were always more important than a union in accordance with the possibilities of ethnic groups. When they decided the fate of our peoples they did not ask us, just as they did not ask you. But still we hoped that Europe would be restored on truly democratic foundations. On the basis of principles which would make the "whereabouts'' of borders a secondary problem because every state would ensure to its nationalities and minorities those democratic freedoms in the posession of which even ethnic groups forced outside the borders could feel at home in their new homeland.
Thus we hoped! And in this faith we, the Hungarians in Rumania, were loyal citizens. We tended to business so that as a result of our work we would win for ourselves the respect of society as a whole. For almost a decade after the liberation it seemed that we would not have to be disillusioned in our hopes. Today we know that we deceived ourselves in having faith in the power. We write these words, humiliated and deceived, in the names not of ourselves but in the names of more than two million Hungarians in Rumania. Deceived, because we have been robbed of our most beautiful hopes and humiliated, because the Order has degraded us into second class citizens, into men who have less and less right to use their mother tongue.
That which we feared for long years has come to pass. Today we can teach our children in Hungarian schools to only a very limited degree.
We must suffer under the most reactionary selection principle, a "numerus clausus," the direct consequence of which will be a "numerus nullus," for sooner or later Hungarian children will not be able to attend Hungarian schools and if they prepare for an inteliectual career they will have only one way to study - by attending Rumanian schools. Those who condemned the Hungarian schools to destruction, who classified a significant proportion of Hungarian primary and secondary teachers as auxiliary workers, know very well that the existence of a nationality stands or falls on instruction in the mother tongue. Those who are forced from the Hungarian schools are deprived of their national culture; this is the first step to the destruction of an ethnic group Every sane man protests against this deliberate assimilation. And you should not wonder that statements condemning the government's policy are increasing throughout the world, not only among the Hungarians in Rumania. Our human dignity demands that we protest with all our strength against the fact that we are being separated with the crudest force from that community of 15 million people to which we ethnically belong, in the culture of which we were brought up, the traditions of which we want to maintain and pass on, with whom we want to cultivate contacts without fear.
We ask you! What is the sin of the Hungarians in Rumania that the regime should toll the bell over them? Why have we been degraded into a "depraved people," "barbarians", "new- comers," or "Asians?" Why are the exponents of the regime, personalities putting forth the most nationalistic, we might even say, fascist, ideology, inciting against us? You know very well whom we mean for the greater part of the Rumanian intellectuals also condemn the unbridled incitement of Adrian Paunescu, his anti-Hungarian incitement feeding the nationalist fantasies of the Rumanian youth. We ask you, why can he attack us ever more wildly? We know the answer, it is only because he expresses the ideas and intent of the regime, only because the regime has decided that we, the Hungarians in Rumania, must disappear through the trapdoor of history so that they can realize that feverish dream of nationalism, "the uniform socialist Rumanian nation."
It is a disgrace to mankind that one can even propose a long-range program which is called on to eliminate by force the nationalities of a country. It is a disgrace to socialism that they can fasten the banner of the most progressive ideal to a most retrograde plan All this is like a nightmare. It breaks the heart to think that there is not one in the country who would openly reject the satanic plan to estabish by the year 2,000 a "homogeneous socialist Rumanian nation, a country with one language." Those obsessed with the racial myth are impatient; they have set too short a time limit. It is true that what cannot be realized in a quarter century can be achieved in 50 or 60 years, with sufficient determination, persistence and terror. If this plan is realized then it is not only the responsible leaders who must answer before the court of history. History will not absolve you either, you who found no way to protest against the destruction of an ethnic group. You cannot be relieved of responsibility if you remain indifferent.
Do not make yourselves deaf and blind. Listen to the voice of conscience, which has been ordered to remain mute, and stand with us - the strong beside the weak. Only protest, or at least your disapproval. Do not permit the power to cast a stain upon us, do not tolerate our being methodically cut off from all that we call our national feeling. Your responsibility is at least as great as that of the regime.
We have faith that you will not abandon us - this is what we ask you, in the name of humanity and reason.
We can no longer be silent in this tragic period when the papers of the country are full of articles and "studies" defaming the Hungarians.
We must protest because these recollections are not written because of the past but rather in the interest of the future, to frighten us and to mislead the world. The articles are charging us with a crime committed by Hungarians under extraordinary circumstances but who is being blamed - we ask you! - for the similarly innumerable offenses committed by Rumanians against Hungarians under tragic circumstances?! Nothing, of course, is being said about this. In this new interpretation the Rumanian nation shines spotlessly while we Hungarians figure as a murderous horde. The meaning of the charges is that we are not worthy of existing and so our destruction is in accordance with natural laws. Our destruction is being served, is being prepared for, by Rumanian school policy in that the number in nationality classes has been set at 26 students. You know very well yourselves what the consequence of this law has been, but if you do not let, us remind you.
If a Hungarian village does not have 26 children - 26 children of the same age - then it cannot start a Hungarian class but a class can be started for a single child of a militia or council worker and then the Hungarian children must be sent to it and they are deprived of the possibility of studying in their mother tongue.
We ask you, what is this if not discrimination; what is this if not the most violent assimilation; what is this if not apartheid?
The situation is even worse in the secondary schools. Whole schools have been abolished; other profiles have been "ensured" for Hungarian departments; at most 2-3 subjects are taught in Hungarian even in "Hungarian language" trade schools; teaching the Hungarian language is unknown in the technikums; the Bolyai Science University was abolished long ago and the result of the "historical development" is that Hungarian language instruction has withered almost completely away at the Babes-Bolyai University and Hungarian instructors are the exception outside of the Hungarian language faculty. The same thing happened with the Medical Science and Pharmacy Institute in Marosvasarhely [Tirgu Mures]. At one time they taught there only in Hungarian, now one can hardly hear a Hungarian word. These are the cold facts. What appears in the world press, in paid advertisements, about the situation of the Hungarians in Rumania, about the "flowering of Hungarian language instruction," is nothing more than a barefaced lie .
Our dear friends! We have faith in you! We have faith in the love of truth and magnanimity of the larger part of the Rumanian intellectuals, in the fact that they are not inclined to pull the wagon of domestic nationalism. Do not lull yourself in the false belief, preached on television by Paunescu with foaming mouth that yuu are different from everybody else. Do not let yourself be poisoned by this brew; reject the phrases of this intellectual gnome, the incitement of this ridiculous little Goebbels, these sermons about the glory of the Rumanian nation above all. If for no other reason do this to protect yourself, for the honor of the Rumanian people, for today throughout the world they listen with a smile to theories about the fashionable continuity. There is not one Western historian today who would accept as historical fact the propagandistic phrases. The diligent effort of those obsessed by the racial myth to prove a presence of several thousand years in the Carpathian basin long ago became ridiculous. Especially since the appearance of Dragan's "WE THRACIANS," the several thousand year history of the Rumanian people - which is not a historical work but a political tract in the foreword of which the author affirms that facts interest him least of all, that his research was aided by fantasy, and if he had no source material then he filled in gaps of several centuries from his own imagination. The origins of the Rumanian people can be proven in such a way, with such offspring of fantasy! Every people migrated from somewhere to somewhere, the only exception being the Rumanians who were "born" in the Carpathian basin many millenia ago and have not moved from it for millenia. Anyone who is the least versed in the historical sciences knows very well how ridiculous this is. But this does not bother the "historical school" of the Pascu-Dragan type in the least. They know one thing for sure. Namely that if a lie is repeated many times then it will appear to be true! Well, there are very many historians today who are most diligent in lies.
We would not like for you to misunderstand our words! Let us say again that we respect the Rumanian people and very many of the Rumanian intellectuals are close to us; we are good friends with more than one of them. But this friendship obliges us to speak frankly about all that which justified the good relations which exist - or which did exist - between us. It is not in our mind to speak disparagingly of your history - only of the historians who stain our history while placing garlands of praise on yours. It is clear to all of us that when Rumanian historians speak of the ancient roots of the Rumanian people, thumbing their nose at science, when they refer to the Rumanians or their ancestors - the Dacians, Thracians, etc. - as the "most heroic," "most durable," and with other exalting adjectives, this also means that those who live in this region and are not Rumanians are all interlopers and parasites. There are a number of books, films and plays which imply this but it is often expressly stated about us, about the Hungarians, that we are an "Asian horde", interlopers and, of course, barbarians right up to the present.
Believe us, it would be wiser to fashion European conditions for coexistence than to incite hatred against the Hungarians in Transylvania. National arrogance, creating the ideal of a Rumanian people more heroic than anyone, has made coexistence almost impossible. A large number of Rumanian historians are searching like maniacs for a way to enhance the national glory and this great effort is turning into a satire and a parody. You have certainly read in the March issue of MAGAZINUL ISTORIC the article by Dr. Petre I. David in which he says, in response to a newspaper article, no less than this: "Once, long ago, the Rumanians participated in the defense of Britain, but then they were called Dacians...."
A person cannot believe his own eyes! How is this to be understood? They were called Dacians, but they were already Rumanians? Who understands this? Those obsessed with continuity are no longer satisfied with saying that the Rumanians have been on this land since the creation of the world; they are sending their ancestors - "the most noble of all peoples" - to the aid of other peoples to demonstrate their nobility of spirit. The historians are dashing off very attractive theories, worthy of a book of fairy tales, to demonstrate the eternal"presence" (most recently Dr. Viorica Moiscu in the 1978/2 issue of MAGAZINUL ISTORIC). The author writes: "History has developed under curious circumstances - it was the same in all times: the unbreakable link with the country, independence, the defense of political and territorial unity - all these were built on the power and indestructible national selt-awareness." According to these people the "powerful and indestructible national self-awareness" already existed when there was neither word nor trace of a Rumanian nation. This is like attributing the contemporary national awareness of the Hungarians to those who existed in the Ugrian age.
Naturally the "researche" of the dilettante historians can convince the masses only if, amidst the constant mention of the greatness and noble spirit of the Romanian people, the nationalist historians do not forget to suitably degrade other peoples including - and especially - the Hungarians. The same Dr. Viorica Moiscu writes: "Goths, Huns, Slavs, Avars, Bulgarians and others of the same stripe arrived seeking pasture, coming from the East, North East and East, from the reaches of Asia, robbing and causing great damage....The first millenium of the national history of the Rumanian people passed amidst conditions of defense."
A falsification of history has become an everyday practice. The most tragic consequence of these machinations is that a false "knowledge" has been planted in the awareness of our children and yours, the idea that peoples can be rank-ordered. the idea that while you constantly proved your nobility of spirit we Hungarians committed the most outrageous horrors throughout Europe.
And all this is not enough. We understand that the Rumanian historians have simply "lifted" Janos Hunyadi and Gyorgy Dozsa, for example, out of Hungarian history and put them into Rumanian history. This is a slap in the face to honesty and a slap in the face to the Hungarian nation. We protest against such formulations as can be read, again, in MAGAZINUL ISTORIC. "Mircea cel Batran, Iancu de Hunedoara (meaning Janos Hunyadi), Alexandru cel Bun, Stefan cel Mare - whom the Western world recalls as the champions of Christ - Vlad Tepes, Petru Rares, Mihail Viteazul and other Rumanian rulers played a great role in universal history." As a defense against this crude lie we can only say that Hungarian historv was never silent about the fact that Janos Hunyadi was of Rumanian origin but it is a crude falsification not to take cognizance of fhe tact that Hunyadi was a Hungarian ruler, one of the stars of Hungarian history, one of the most outstanding Hungarian generals. In the reprogrammed awareness of the Rumanian historians Janos Hunyadi has ceased to be a Hungarian statesman and general. Ion Hategan provides a variation on this same theme in the 1978/3 issue of MAGAZINUL ISTORIC: "History developed in such a way that in the middle of the 15th century the Turks, waging a war of conquest, tried their strength against the armies of three Rumanian voivods one after another - Iancu Hunedoara (meaning Janos Hunyadi), Vlad Tepes and Stefan cel Mare."
We had hoped that sooner or later reason would come to the surface and that there would finally be Rumanian historians who would try to put a stop to this nationalist mania. We had sincerely hoped that the political last testament of Professor Daicovici would not find deaf ears, that there would be among the best at least some who would hear his warning and protest: "To put the hypothetical theory of Daco-Rumanian continuity into the service of political goals is a sin!"
No one noticed the adjective "hypothetical," least of all did they notice that at the end of his life he denied any intellectual communality with his former students. But the evil spirit was out of the bottle and there was no one to order it back in.
On the contrary, bewitched by the evil spirit which had been let loose, there began the persecution against the Hungarians in Transylvania, there began the sinful assimilation policy, assimilation without scruple. Those obsessed by nationalism decided that the Hungarian kindergartens, general schools and institutions of secondary instruction should wither away and, what is more shocking, with the abolition or Rumanization of the two Hungarian universities - the one in Kolozsvar [Cluj] and Vasarhely [Tirgu Mures, - they decided to deprive the Hungarians in Transylvania even of their name. In more than one scientific work, including the Albatros Encyclopedia article on the literature of KORTARS, they speak of contemporary Hungarian writers in Rumania as "Rumanian" writers speaking a Hungarian dialect." On several occasions the systematic use of this designation has been urged in Central Committee guides by Cornel Burtica and Dumitru Popescu, which unambiguously shows that the editors and authors of articles have not rechristened the Hungarian writers in Romania spontaneously (regarding the Hungarians in Rumania as Rumanians).
The directive to deprive the Hungarians in Rumania even of their name was issued by the supreme leadership.
We experience with shock a deliberateness appearing throughout public life whereby they want to simply abolish the Hungarians in Rumania as an ethnic group. They do not recoil from any tool in the interest of achieving this goal - those who feel secure behind the bastions of socialism, declaring the national question to be an internal affair of the country. But we ask you, is it an internal affair if the power anywhere in the world condemns an ethnic group to death? It is important for us to turn to this question because in our judgment the falsification of the historical facts does not serve the cause of either the Rumanian or the Hungarian peoples or peace between the two peoples and least of all does it serve the universal interests of socialism. Only a recognition of the complete truth can serve our interests and our future. As we have said, we are doing everything in the interest of this.
What has the official Rumanian view of history done in opposition to this? Again it only falsifies. For example, we can regard differently that interpretation of the 1920 peace treaty according to which "The Rumanian, Hungarian, German and other nationality workers expressed their desire for liberation from the yoke of the Austro-Hungarian rule and their wish to join the country." (MAGAZINUL ISTORIC, 1978/3.) To what extent does this statement correspond to the truth? Facts are stubborn things. The truth is that the fall of the Hungarian Republic of Councils and the coming to power of Horthy was decided to a crucial degree by the fact that the Rumanian army, on the side of the other entente units, stabbed the young Hungarian republic in the back. Transylvania was the reward for this act and not for service to historical justice. Attaching Transylvania to Rumania was just only to the extent that it was just for it to belong to Hungary. A completely just decision could not have been made in this question. Perhaps only an Eastern European federation, which was being urged by the best, would have been something in which Transylvania could have remained independent as an independent state within the Union. But, if this historical possibility was repeatedly missed, then at least there might have been a possibility for a democratic solution in the manner begun by the Groza government. Our hopes were destroyed by the ending of Groza's premiership. Despite this, we cannot acquiesce in the humiliating state of affairs today. Within the limits of our possibilities we are doing everything to call attention to the unbridled falsification of history, partly to protect the Rumanian masses against the opium and partly because we cannot permit Hungarian history - which is our history too - to be splattered with mud. We must do this as long as articles can appear like the one by Sever Dumitrascu in the April issue of FAMILIA. The author, well known for his nationalist frame of mind, writes: "Anonymus says that while the Hungarians were still north of the Carpathians, living in the country of the Ruthenians, their 'leaders' asked them to cross the mountains and subjugate Pannonia, irrigated by rich waters, where the 'Slavs, Bulgarians and Rumanians lived.'" The author also quotes Stefan Pascu, according to whom "Slavs and Rumanians" lived in Pannonia in the 9th century. Kezai also figures as a witness, quoting from his text referring to Pannonia as "pastores romanorum" from which it is con- cluded that Rumanians lived in Pannonia even in the 800's (and before).
We do not want to turn to Anonymus research now but we want to note that for more than 200 years several hundred studies have appeared in Hungary and throughout the world concerning this question and it is not entirely clear even today who this person was or what the scientific value of his work is. But there is an argument about one thing, that we must understand by "pastores romanorum" she French "free loaders" or loafers in the region of the court, those who had immigrated at the time of Anonymus or somewhat earlier and their presence is mentioned - even in the sense of being the successors to the Roman settlements - at the time of the coming of the Hungarians. But Dumitrascu Sever goes even farther. Interpreting in his own way the text of a Hungarian researcher, E. Toth, he states that Rumanians (and successors to the Roman
settlements) lived in Pannonia even in the fourth century. Thumbing his nose at the findings of contemporary historical science Dumitrascu says that "Not only do the sources refer continuously to this significant mass of people (meaning the Rumanians living in Pannonia) but they also refer to the unique administrative and religious organizations of them which were led by significant personalities." Who were these significant Rumanian personalities in Pannonia? Dumitrascu mentions two names - Hadrianus and Menanus. It is a pity that we know of both of them that they were not Rumanians and could not have been, since the Rumanian nation did not even exist at that time.
We ask you, What is this if not a parody of historiography?
We mention all this only because we feel that going beyond the activity of Adrian Paunescu and in addition to the inciting articles scientists also are contributing to the fantasizing of the Rumanian masses.
Politics and science have united to prove that not only do the Hungarians in Transylvania have no right to exist but that all the Hungarians, as a race, are not worthy of existing in Europe, that wherever they are, along the Danube, they are present only as interlopers and usurpers.
In shock we ask you: Who is served by this hate arousing nationalist view of history?! The answer has been given by publications which appeared in recent weeks, publications in which the authors again raked up the atrocities which took place in the fall of 1940, those crimes committed bv the commanders of certain Hungarian military sub-units during de facto military actions, people who were called to account and punished after the events by Hungarian military courts. Do not cry out. We are not the protectors of the Horthy regime, indeed, we also condemn everything which happened in Ip and elsewhere, but we think that matters should not be separated from their interdependencies. It is a fact that in a few villages civilian inhabitants were killed by soldiers, but we would be doing harm to the truth if we were not willing to admit that Hungarian soldiers in Ip and Trezna, marching in according to orders and holding to the conditions set forth in the Vienna decision, a valid international treaty, were fired upon from a tower by a machine gun and prior to this the reception parties offered bouquets with hand grenades in them to the arriving soldiers. This indisputable truth was established by international investigations. Despite this we can read in the 27 April issue of FLACARA this year, the journal of the fascist inciter Paunescu: "The faithful servants of Nazism here, the Horthyist murders, surpassed in their cruelty and infamy the bestiality of the Hitlerists in Oradour and Lidice."
We condemn these murders and we seek no justification for them, even if their goal was revenge. But do not forget that there is another pan to the scale on which we must put those crimes which Rumanians committed against Hungarians.
|Witnesses to Cultural Genocide|